Round of 64: Five Matches to Watch
August 17, 2016 | Bloomfield Township, Mich.
By David Shefter, USGA
With the field of the 116th U.S Amateur Championship now trimmed from 312 to 64, the match-play portion of the competition can now commence on the South Course at Oakland Hills Country Club. Fortunately, the overnight rain and Tuesday morning showers didn’t suspend play and stroke play could be completed without interruption. The 23-for-8 playoff on the North Course on Wednesday morning provided the final competitors for the Round of 64.
Six rounds of match play over the next five days will produce the next golfer to inscribe his name on the Havemeyer Trophy. Here are five notable Round-of-64 matches:
Scottie Scheffler, Dallas, Texas vs. Cameron Young, Scarborough, N.Y. (10:50 a.m. EDT)
How about the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur champion and 2016 U.S. Open qualifier squaring off against the 2015 Metropolitan Golf Association Player of the Year who posted a pair of college victories at Wake Forest University last season. Scheffler, who reached the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., a few weeks after his Junior Amateur triumph at Martis Camp, comes into the matchup No. 21 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™. He opened this year’s U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club with a 1-under 69, but ultimately missed the cut. The University of Texas junior also defeated NCAA champion Aaron Wise during the championship match of the NCAA team final at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club for the Longhorns, who ultimately lost, 3-2. Young, a quarterfinalist in the 2013 Junior Amateur, has qualified for the past four U.S. Amateurs and advanced to the Round of 32 in 2015 at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club. His father, David, is the head pro at Sleeping Hollow Country Club, site of the 2002 U.S. Women’s Amateur.
Doug Ghim, Arlington Heights, Ill. vs. Todd White, Spartanburg, S.C. (12:20 p.m.)
This is a classic matchup of young star against wily mid-amateur. Ghim, the runner-up in the 2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links and a semifinalist in the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur, helped the University of Texas reach the championship match of this year’s NCAA Championship. The 20-year-old junior represented the USA in this year’s Palmer Cup at Formby Golf Club in England. Meanwhile, the 48-year-old White, a member of the victorious 2013 USA Walker Cup Team, is the oldest remaining player. The high school history teacher won the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship with Nathan Smith in May 2015 at The Olympic Club. He also advanced to the semifinals of the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur.
William Zalatoris, Plano, Texas vs. Brad Dalke, Norman, Okla. (12:30 p.m.)
This is another marquee opening-round matchup of standout collegians with deep résumés. Zalatoris, No. 28 in the WAGR, won the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur, and this summer the Wake Forest junior was victorious in the Pacific Coast Amateur and Trans-Mississippi, which was his second triumph in the event. Zalatoris also represented the USA in this year’s Palmer Cup and received an exemption into the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Classic. In 2015, he was named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Freshman of the year. Dalke, 18, entered the University of Oklahoma last fall after a decorated junior career that included winning the 2015 Junior PGA Championship, the 2011 American Junior Golf Association’s Thunderbird Invitational, and the prestigious CB&I Invitational and PING Invitational in 2014. He also was a member of victorious 2014 USA Junior Ryder Cup team and was a five-time AJGA First-Team All-American, the first player to ever achieve that feat. Dalke committed to Oklahoma when he was in the eighth grade. His mom, Kay, played golf there and his dad, Bill, was a starting linebacker on the school’s 1975 national championship team.
KK Limbhasut, Thailand vs. Franklin Huang, Poway, Calif. (1 p.m.)
A couple of Bay Area collegians will renew their Pacific-12 Conference rivalry. As a University of California sophomore last season, Limbhasut, 20, posted eight top-10 finishes, including a tie for first in the John A. Burns Intercollegiate. He also tied for third in the Pacific-12 Conference Championship and tied for fourth in the NCAA Tucson (Ariz.) Regional. Huang, 20, is entering his junior year at Stanford University. He birdied the first playoff hole to garner one of the eight available spots in the 23-person playoff for the final match-play spots on Wednesday morning. He led Stanford to victory in the NCAA Tucson Regional by winning the event with rounds of 67-69-68. Huang also advanced to the semifinals of the California Amateur and won the 2014 California Junior Amateur, a stroke-play competition.
Alex Smalley, Wake Forest, N.C. vs. Scott Harvey, Greensboro, N.C. (2:10 p.m.)
The medalist has only won the U.S. Amateur twice in the last 20 years: Tiger Woods in 1996 and Ryan Moore in 2004. Smalley’s first step toward his ultimate goal comes against 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Scott Harvey, a member of the 2015 USA Walker Cup Team. Interestingly enough, Harvey, 38, was the top seed in last year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur at John’s Island Club and needed extra holes to eliminate four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith. He survived a seven-hole, 23-for-8 playoff on Wednesday morning to earn the final match-play spot. Smalley, 19, a Duke University sophomore, lost in the Round of 64 in the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur, his only previous USGA championship appearance. Earlier this year, he was the medalist in his U.S. Open local qualifier at the Duke University Golf Club.